Something smelled good. The air was filled with the sweet aroma of vegetables and some sort of soup. My eyes opened a tad as I sniffed the air. Soup. Part of me hoped the soup was Louis' own cooking as I loved his cooking. My whole body ached and I slowly sat up, finding myself lying on his couch, the blanket still draped over me. Where was Louis?
Frantically, I looked around for him. Suddenly, I saw him in the kitchen, whistling something as he stirred something on the stove. Louis saw I was awake and instantly stated, “Don't you dare get up. You are under strict orders to stay put.”
“You sound just like my mother.” I mumbled, annoyed.
He mentioned, “She came by last night and told me to keep a watchful eye on you. Apparently, you like to run off.”
I smiled, recalling earlier. “Sorry.”
“Don't tell me that, tell her. She was going crazy looking for you.” He sighed.
“How long was I asleep?” I yawned.
“Well you slept all night. I considered moving you, but I didn't want to wake you. It's nearly noon now.” Louis answered, pouring some soup into a bowl.
Wait. Shouldn't he be the one in bed and sick? He was just in the hospital! I instantly asked, “What are you doing here, alone? You just had another surgery, are you crazy?”
Louis laughed, “I was only in St. Mungo's for two days. They let me out after that because I was well enough to go home. I somehow managed to convince my mother that I'd be fine recovering here by myself. My surgery wasn't that extensive, it was for an infection.”
He handed me a bowl of soup and I looked at him, confused. “Wait, so are we okay or what?”
Louis bit his lip, sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch. “I have hurt you one too many times, Stephanie.”
“I know that and I don't care. I'm fine and I got over it. I forgive you.” I stated.
“It still doesn't make me feel any better, knowing the pain I've caused you.” Louis argued softly.
I groaned. “Are there any more secrets? Any long lost relatives, girlfriends or anything else?”
“No.” He sighed.
“Are you a vampire or something like that?” I asked.
“No. What kind of question is that?” He looked at me, confused.
“Just checking.” I stated, smiling.
“I'm sorry for the secrets I've kept. Madeline and I did go out a couple times but we were never more than friends. I swear. We'd written a couple times but nothing more. In fact, I have not written her a letter in over four months. She told me to tell you that she feels incredibly sorry for what happened and the confusion-” He explained.
“Why couldn't she just have written a letter this time? In fact, why does she need to be concerned with you at all if you aren't even that close of friends? It doesn't make sense, Louis.” I asked, still a tad angry and confused about the situation.
“I don't know, Stephanie.-” Louis sighed and then someone knocked on the door.
He went to answer it and I saw Madeline standing there. Instantly, I felt my heart break again. Louis sighed, “Now is not a good time, Madeline.”
“I just wanted to be sure that Stephanie was okay. I stopped at the Leaky Cauldron but I was informed she was here. I wanted to come in person to apologize to her.” She stated with a strong French accent.
Louis bit his lip, “I think it's best you leave.”
“No, maybe she can explain what's been going on, Louis! Since you obviously can't tell me anything!” I stated, frustratedly.
He opened the door wider, letting her inside. Madeline stood in the entryway, a bit confused but would only look at me, “I am sorry-”
“I don't need apologies. I need an explanation.” I stated firmly.
She bit her lip, “I know. Louis and I met in France under certain circumstances. You see, I have the sort of the same condition he has. We met in a hospital and simply talked as we waited for our appointments. After that, we became friends. We were never anything more, I promise you.”
“Okay, I understand that. So why would you come here after all this time?” I asked.
“Well, during all those appointments in France, the healers weren't sure if they could treat me. My condition is more severe than Louis' was. have undergone several treatments and none of them have worked. I found out a couple weeks ago that I can go see a healer in Ireland who knows of my condition and has found a new way of treating it. I wanted to tell Louis the news myself.” She smiled happily at me.
Louis looked at me. I was torn. I didn't understand what was going on. I looked at Madeline and I wasn't sure if she was being truthful or not. Something didn't feel right about her. Her smile seemed just a bit too cheerful and almost fake. I bit my lip. Louis looked at Madeline, “I think it's best you leave now.”
“Louis-” Madeline started to say.
“I need you to leave now,” Louis stated, starting to close the door.
“Can't we just talk a minute?” Madeline asked in a persistent tone.
I looked at Louis, “One minute. No more.”
They walked out into the hall and shut the door but left it open a tad. I could hear Louis arguing with her, “I told you after I met you that I only saw you as a friend, Madeline.”
Madeline stated, “I have had feelings for you since we first met. I want-”
I sucked in a breath as I heard Louis shout, “I told you a thousand times over and my feelings have not since changed! I don't love you, Madeline! I don't know how to make you understand that.”
I peeked through the doorway and Madeline smiled at him, “Maybe this will convince you.”
She reached up, touching his cheek and kissed him. He pushed her away, “Don't.”
I felt the anger boiling up inside of me. Before she could say a word, I stormed out of the doorway and slapped her across the face, “You are an insufferable pig!”
She glared at me, “I tried to be nice but Louis could do better than you.”
I glared right back with my wand pointed at her, “And you need to leave before I hex you down the stairs all the way to the South Pole.”
Madeline looked at Louis one last time but he coldly looked at her, “You should go.”
She flipped her hair, “Fine.”
Without another word, she apparated and was gone. Louis leaned against the wall, running a hand through his hair and let out a frustrated sigh. I looked at him, “What was that about? Her kissing you-”
“She has constantly tried to make me fall for her. At first when we were just friends, she was harmless but then she told me she wanted to be more than that. I told her I had no intentions of being more than friends but she didn't want to hear any of it. I'm sorry to have put you into this mess. She has turned out to be one of those girls that loves attention and being in the papers because she's with a Weasley,” Louis stated seriously.
I bit my lip, “Okay.”
“I'm sorry, Stephanie. I have no feelings for her, I promise you,” He added.
“Okay, I get it. But are we okay?” I asked again.
Louis didn't comment right away but then he turned to face me, his hands touched my arms. “I want to be. I was being rash and ridiculous earlier but I felt so horrible. I didn't know what else to do other than try to give you the life you deserved, free of the horrible stuff.”
“I don't deserve that kind of life if you're not in it.” I stated.
He touched my cheek, “These past couple days without you have been rough. I haven't slept hardly at all, knowing I caused you pain. I never wanted to leave you like I did.”
I closed my eyes as I felt his warm breath on my lips. His mouth was only centimeters from mine and I longed for him to kiss me. His voice broke the silence, as he spoke against my lips. “I will always love you.”
Then he initiated the kiss and pressed his lips against mine. My heart stopped as his warm lips caressed mine and he stole my breath from me. My fingers touched his cheek and felt the rough, unshaven skin of his jaw. He kissed me again with more urgency and passion. Once he pulled away, we were both breathless.
Louis kissed me lightly before we walked back into his apartment. I ate and leaned on his shoulder as we sat on the couch, “How are you feeling?”
“Better, now that you're here.” He kissed my cheek.
I smiled and was about to whip out my wand but he beat me to it. He pulled out his wand and sent the dirty dishes to the kitchen. I looked at him, “And I thought you didn't prefer magic.”
“Only on occasion do I feel like using it. Besides, in order to put the dishes away, I'd have to get up. I'm far too comfortable at the moment.” He smiled, leaning back, pulling me to his chest.
I laughed and coughed a bit. He touched my forehead. “Maybe I shouldn't have kissed you. You still have a bit of a fever.”
I instantly started to pull away from him, not wanting to get him sick, especially after he'd gone through an infection. His arms wrapped around me, pulling me back to him. “Who said you could move?”
I looked at him, “I'll get you sick and you don't need that.”
“I don't care. I'd rather be sick with you than well without you.” He pulled me to his lap.
I sighed, “If you are absolutely sure.”
“I've never been more sure of anything.” He kissed my forehead.
I snuggled into his chest and he rubbed my back soothingly. “How do you feel?”
I smiled, “Other than the slightly sore throat, I feel like I am on top of the world.”
Louis kissed the top of my head and I closed my eyes in content....
Sometime later, I woke to find Louis gently moving from underneath me. He slowly untangled my arms from his torso and got up as quietly as he could. I yawned, opened my eyes and looked at him. He pressed his lips to my forehead before tenderly whispering in my ear, “Retourne te coucher, mon ange.” (Go back to sleep, my angel).
I sleepily asked, “Are you coming back?”
He stroked my cheek, “I need to go take some medicine. I'll be back.”
I nodded and curled up on the couch. He left momentarily. I could hear him walking around to the bathroom. When he returned, I moved so he could lie next to me. Instead he sat on the edge of the couch and looked at me. I didn't understand what he was doing. My heart started to pound fiercely in my chest as he fidgeted with something in his hands. I couldn't see what he had until he finally handed it to me. I held the small white box in my shaking hands. What was going on?
I opened the box and gasped at what I saw. Louis smiled at my reaction and kissed my cheek. “Happy Valentine's Day.”
Was it February 14 already? My fingers slowly touched the delicate silver charm bracelet. I looked at him, “Je t'aime.”
Louis met my gaze with loving eyes and he smiled, “I thought I was dreaming the first time I heard you say that.”
I smiled back, “Now you need to teach me more words.”
“What makes you think I'll agree?” He asked.
I put my arms around his neck and kissed him, “Please?”
“Then you'd know everything I say to you,” He kissed my forehead, “There's not any fun in that for me.”
I snuggled into his arms, resting my head on his chest, feeling him breathing. He whispered in my ear, "Je t'aime. Tu es dans toutes mes pensées.”
Those words brought me back to that very first day we met. That was the best day of my entire life. His fingers entwined with mine and he pressed his lips to my cheek, “Vous êtes le seul que je pourrais jamais voulu.” (you're the only one I could ever want).
I knew we would be just fine. The worst was behind us and now we could keep moving forward, together.
a/n: i am sorry for such along wait!!! i hope this chapter is somewhat good... it is the last one actually BUT i am writing an epilogue for those of you who are interested. :)
Thank you so much for sticking with this story and reviewing!!!!!